Grafton Public Library

Director’s Report: March 2023

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The Library was open 25 days in March and had 7,429 visitors. We closed for one day due to inclement weather, and delayed open for staff training, once. Due to short staffing, we had a staff-led programming hiatus in March. We offered 26 programs, 10 passive, no virtual, and 16 in-person, for over 450 attendees. We had 192 meeting room reservations for 762 participants, and 2 no shows, and 20 additional meeting room uses for staff use (interviews, photography, meetings) and programs delivered by outside presenters.

Beth covered service desks, contributed to and sent the March newsletter, completed January statistics, collected February statistics, prepared materials for the library’s budget hearing with FinCom on March 15, submitted bills for payment, compiled a list of resources for computer and browser accessibility, completed a non-fiction book order, met with IT, held a staff meeting, reviewed incident reports, and communicated with Trustees, Capital Campaign, and other town departments.

Our internship candidate’s project was approved by GHS and Audrey Yard will donate 20 hours a week for five weeks beginning in April; she will be working on the posters and a slide show and QR code scavenger hunt in fulfillment of the required historical displays for the MA Historical Society. Beth updated the website, updated procedures and began interviewing on-call temporary library associates. She also began overseeing the Teen Department more directly due to staff leave.

Eileen maintained the collection of periodicals, took care of incoming mail, and prepared bills.

Debby worked on scheduling and payroll, compiled Weekly Reports, worked on upcoming social media posts, helped clear the sprinkler room to meet compliance standards from the Grafton Fire Department, and covered the Teen Room, and worked on Board of Library Trustee tasks. Debby compiled the Weekly Report, worked on upcoming social media posts, payroll and scheduling, as well as tasks for the Board of Library Trustees for their upcoming meetings.

We recorded 38 low coverage instances where we had to pull someone from another department, derailing them from their work or duties; call in a temp, or close a department.

Thank you to Grafton Police Department officers Alves and Benoit! Ten staff participated in Staff Development with a panic button test and implementation of January’s ALICE Active Shooter Training.

Staff completed MIIA’s First Amendment Audit webinar and discussed at staff meeting. We reviewed our Code of Conduct for compliance in 2021. We will be reviewing addition of Authorized Personnel ONLY signage on interior doors, additional book carts to block access to staff desks and computers, and need for privacy screens for public service desks. Beth participated in a training from MA Board of Library Commissioners in Crisis Communication, specifically addressing the prevalence of book challenges and how to respond. Jane attended  Ornery Teenagers: Compassionately and Effectively Managing Their Problem Behaviors, Back Up–How to Back Up Your Coworkers During a Crisis, Advanced Body Language”, and Service Dogs: Your Obligation Under the ADA. Allie attended Mastering Influence and Negotiation and Sexual Harassment: How to Respond to a Customer’s Inappropriate Comments. Cynthia attended webinars on Violence in Libraries and another on Preventing Conflict.

With two months left to go before end of fiscal year, we are getting tight on funds, and have unexpected costs and repairs that is stretching the repair and maintenance line thin.

Beth and several BoLT members attended a budget hearing with FinCom to review the Library’s FY24 budget request of $1,106,760, a 6.6% increase for additional staffing.

Beth submitted a grant to the MA Historical Commission to supplement restoration and preservation of the Library’s cupola, which has weather damage and missing flashing and has leaked into the historic Wheelock Reading Room, it was last restored over 20 years ago.  David L. King architects was out with an engineer to inspect the cupola to develop a scope of work and estimate for restoring and repairing it. Deteriorating wood and flashing is caused a leak into the Historic Reading Room a few months ago and we are working to remedy the situation.

Construction Update
Beth attended weekly construction meetings and Library Planning and Building Committee. Evergreen removed a boarder of the green roof that may be contributing to the ongoing leak in the Community Room—no more leaking! A replacement part was ordered for the door opener. ADA counterwork repairs are complete and signed off on, and we are waiting for the architect to request the permanent certificate of occupancy. The humidifier for 218 was ordered, and William Blake is working on installation – we need to follow public procurement law and go out to bid. Doors for the Maker Space and Presentation Area are scheduled for installation at the beginning of April. We are still waiting for a ball bearing for the gate at the bottom of the stairs.

HVAC commissioning is still outstanding; a replacement coil will be installed May 1.

IT Update
Deep Freeze has been installed on public computers and laptops. We are trying to find a security solution for the laptops, which are in-house use, as the tags are not setting of the alarm.

COVID-19 Update

Volunteers, Outreach and Partnerships
We delivered 47 items to Homebound patrons. We had 20 volunteers who put in 80 hours. A new teen volunteer had not been entering their hours on the log sheet. For Year End 2022 and January 2023, there was 1 additional volunteer and 6 additional hours. For February 2023, there was 1 additional volunteer and 4 additional hours. check-outs and renewals and 9 requests.

Sarah and Debby attended NSS Community Reading Day. Beth shepherded the GUM Jam program led by Eric from Apple Tree Arts. Beth gave a tour to Sarah from CMRPC and replenished survey forms, and met with Bob from Willard House – we will be hosting a clock scavenger hunt at the Library in April, and youth participants will earn a glow in the dark sticker and enter a drawing for a mantle clock in April. Beth set up a Horology Display in the lobby display case.

Social Media
TikTok and Instagram subscribers continue to increase thanks to Debby’s engagement, while Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube remain stable. We have 2172 followers on Facebook, 948 on Tik Tok, 762 on Instagram, 106 on YouTube, 420 on Twitter, 423 on Pinterest, and 8 on Flickr.

Children’s Services
March brought a halt to our regularly scheduled staff run programming due to being down 86 staff hours per week. Department heads made the difficult decision to pause programming so we could focus on room coverage and keeping patron services up and running. We did have some disappointed patrons in the Children’s Room, but as a whole, families and caregivers were understanding and supportive of the decision. We were very fortunate that we were able to keep our school visits going, so our outreach to the local schools was not affected.

Shelving in the Children’s Room has increased to a point where a large portion of staff time has been spent reshelving CR materials. With staff out and three more staff with varying levels of injury, the shelving load has been difficult to bear. We have been requesting a steady paid page position in the CR for a number of years, but it just isn’t possible due to the tight budget. The Children’s department was encouraged to add more volunteers, but Kara reported the majority of applicants have been high school students. Adult applicants have so far been mostly senior tax volunteers who apply in the fall when that program year starts. We haven’t received many general adult volunteer applications. During the month of March, the Children’s Room circulated 7,551 items which is the highest circ number of any department.

Teen Services
Allison worked on book orders, Beanstack challenges, planning summer programs, and preparing displays. Sarah S continued to inventory the manga list; trained a new volunteer; put up weekly book displays, collated list of titles for YA/MG fiction, graphic novels and nonfiction for April through June to add to order lists, and updated the manga release spreadsheet. She decorated the Teen Room for spring, worked on stickering and shelving new nonfiction and manga, conducted reader advisory, reached out to a contact about tarot programming for the summer and kept up with reviews for upcoming releases. Computers were restored at the end of the month and had 25 uses.

Borrower Services
We circulated 12,858 physical items and 2,903 digital items. There were 65 reservations; 52 were picked up and there were 13 “No Shows.” We registered 84 new borrowers and corrected 5 accounts for Grafton patrons. We made 10 out of network requests; 8 were unfillable.

Our main display for March was craft fiction for National Crafting Month.  The four smaller displays were:  Books with Clover on the Cover, Women’s History Month, St. Patrick’s Day, and Books Set in Ireland or by Irish Authors. Kara added a subpage for book lists to the Library’s website: find it under the READ heading, or go directly to — a list was published for National Crafting Month. A joint fiction and non-fiction display was set up for the Academy Awards. A graphic novel display was set up for Will Eisner Week. Staff-led programming was on a hiatus during the month of March. We had a department staff meeting during the March 9th professional development day.

A “spring joke of the week” is being featured at the Borrower Services desk. The seed library will open for the season on April 1st. Letters were sent requesting seed donations and promotional materials were updated or created. Allie created a redesigned Welcome Packet brochure

Reference Services
We answered 350 reference questions, placed 564 holds, and had 175 total computer users and 4,012 Wi-Fi sessions. Patrons accessed library databases 1,654 times.

Heidi also worked on the Friends of the Library Community Read preparations and collection development, and made a display to publicize the Beekeeping Workshop. Eric assisted patrons with technology, reference and circulation questions.  They continued collection maintenance and collection development activities.  They worked on refreshing the endcap displays and worked on the staircase display for April.  The theme is gardening to promote the seed library.  Eric also assisted with the Blackstone Canal program put on by the Grafton Historical society as was necessary. They met with the Comics Plus representative and worked with Cynthia and Borrower Services to send two boxes of items to Better World Books. Eric also completed some professional development training and created a non-fiction staircase display having to do with March being National Craft Month.

We held the following non-staff-led programs – Grafton Ukulele Musicians – GUM Jam,

Johnny Cash – Songs & Stories with Matt York funded by Grafton Cultural Council,  two sessions of a Beekeeping Workshop, and a presentation by Tom Keller on the Blackstone Canal.

Technical Services
847 items were added in March and 258 items were deleted. Cynthia fixed 121 items this month. A lot of these items were requests for edits of the call number due to the children’s room getting more shelving. They wanted to move a lot from either j NF to EZ NF or j B PIC to j B.  She ordered books for each department and unpacked items as they arrived, sent in scans to the CatCenter for original cataloging and sent in requests for records to be added to the catalog. She spent a significant amount of time troubleshooting the RFID tag reader and had several support sessions with Bibliotheca in order to get the problem resolved.

Cynthia prepared a Demco order and I began reviewing documents from Ingram regarding getting a new grid account set up and verifying that all the call numbers and spine labels will be correct.  She also covered the desk for Borrower Services.

The Friends are planning the Spring Egg Hunt (April 1), their Annual Meeting and slate of candidates, and a fall book sale.


  • Can you help me make a room reservation? I tried to do it online but it was really confusing. It gave me a big form to fill out.
  • Yes, these are all returns, and yes, it’s pretty typical for the children’s room! We don’t have the budget for a Page and our teen volunteers often don’t show.
  • Yes, we can get rid of the hand sanitizer and replace with something better (the free stuff from 2023 smells like “stale tequila” and “feels nasty” will need guidance on disposal in case it’s flammable.

NO Log

  • No, the computers in the CR don’t have audio- (please verify with IT – headphones are required, but they should all have soundcards! -BS)
  • No, the Children’s Room tutoring room is not available for use today. (Packaging for shelving is still in there)
  • No, we are not accepting book donations at this time
  • “What is the event scheduled there for Sunday? I can’t find it on the calendar. My friend told me about it.” (He’s going to check with his friend, because we have nothing on the schedule for Sunday)
  • No, we are not offering notary services at this time.
  • No, we really don’t have any volunteer opportunities for an 11 year old.

Patron Comments

3/31 “It’s beautiful. I love the blue painted bricks and the rug. It’s my first time here. My husband was here for the ZBA meeting this week and said it was great.  He showed up late and was afraid he was going to have to walk right in front of the person doing the presentation to get into the room. He said a very nice staff person took him in through the kitchen. I mostly read eBooks, but I might have to start reading printed books. ”

3/31 “You’ve earned your keep today. Thank you for all of your help!” (managing partner library networks in Libby on patron’s phone, updating account, answering questions about the new building). She was also very pleased to find some 7-day books she could check out as the wait for best sellers in eBook formats are long.  “I might have to read more regular books.”

3/30 Are you taking book donations? Because someone from the Friends says you need fiction books desperately. We asked they do need fiction, but they don’t want to just open up the book drop because they don’t have room.)

3/29 – “Hi Heidi, I did finally get in. Must have been the system. Thank you for checking on me. Great customer service!!” (Setting up her Libby account for the first time on her iPad and checking something out.)

3/29 – We have visited many of the local libraries and we love how kid-focused your library feels. We visit every week and there is always something new and fun.

3/29 – We love all the new toys in the kids room!

3/28- Patron came with young kids( between 5 to 6 Years) in YA and wanted to use makerspace (wanted his kids play with coloring papers and LEGO), when I told him he can go to Children’s room and they have coloring papers there, he was upset and mentioned has used this space before (I pay taxes and have right to use any space in the building) I explained him this makerspace is for teenager after school to use and they can be loud , he understood and was calm later and he wanted to be here for 10 minutes to use craft papers for coloring( I allowed him because there were no teenage during that time, for 10 minutes) He said craft/coloring stuff and LEGOs are better here than children’s room. (Well handled! Please consider writing an incident report, this is a policy violation -BS)

3/28 – “I just love this library.  Everyone is always so helpful and lovely. Wonderful to see our tax dollars put to good use.”

3/27 – When will the external lobby door be fixed? (from multiple patrons)

3/27 “I have to say, whether it’s you or the town clerk’s office, whenever I need something from the town, the town employees are so helpful. You’re doing a great job!”

3/25 The outside door is really a struggle with a stroller, but I can do it!

3/25 The women’s bathroom smells terrible! (did anyone alert custodial? BS)

3/25 “I haven’t been in since before the pandemic. But I see all your costumes online and it’s just great. Some of the books I don’t even know. Do you own all that stuff?  It’s such a vast collection. Thanks for all of your help today.”

3/25 “There she is!  You’re always so enthusiastic. I bet the kids love it.”

3/25 I’m looking for the theater group meeting here. (She called her people, and her meeting was really in Groton.)

3/23 I love the Safe Space signs. We have noticed them today and think it’s great.

3/23 I love it that the computers are locked! (They’re on the log in screen and no one has used them and the kids haven’t figured it out!) It’s great that the kids aren’t automatically trying to use them and they are looking at books instead. -mom in CR

3/23 Thank you for being so hospitable. This is a lovely place to be. -mom in CR

3/23 This place is great! I haven’t been in since you renovated. It’s a great space. (attender of the Blackstone Canal program)

3/23 Where is Ms. Stacie? Why isn’t she doing crafts?

3/23 “I see all of your posts on Facebook. Your costumes. I love it.”

3/22 Did you order me a replacement DVD?  That was so nice of you!

3/22 “The door is so heavy!  When will it be fixed?”

3/22 “Thank you so much for finding it [the book she had seen in the catalog, but didn’t know where to find]. I could’ve looked all day and still not found it.”

3/22 Families loved all the extra stuff we put out for the half day. “There’s always something new to do here!”

3/22 “I brought my husband here over the weekend, after you showed me around last Wednesday. He loved it! He spent an hour in the Historic Reading Room and an hour in the New Books room. It’s wonderful. Also, I succeeded in returning my books today all by myself, after you showed me how last week.”

3/22 “Wow! You have a puzzle swap?”

3/22 “My husband and I just retired last year and we’re really enjoying getting to know about what’s available in town, that we didn’t have time to do before. I’m intrigued by all the things the library offers to check out (library of things), like the cake pans. I’d been looking for a heart shaped pan for my grandson’s birthday that is around Valentine’s Day and couldn’t find one. Then I came here and there it was!”

3/22 “I like your bee costume.” (I told them about the beekeeping program this afternoon and they said), “Well, your advertising campaign is working!”

3/20 Beekeeping presentation was awesome. Presenter was very good

3/20 Whatever happened to the art squares project? Was it ever displayed?

3/20 “Are you a dandelion? I love it!” (Was also able to mention

3/18: tween patron: ‘oh my god you know what demon slayer is! Have you also watched/read… [listed a dozen titles]? His joy was absolutely infectious.

3/17-’Please have Robin (YS teacher) back again. She was wonderful!

3/16 “I can’t book a study room with my Grafton card because I don’t have a Grafton ZIP code? That really s*** because Sutton doesn’t have any rooms we can use to study with my son.” This is probably why she was having trouble booking the room herself. I told her she could come in the day of and book a room as a walk-in.

3/15 “Thank you.  You’ve been so helpful.”

3/15 “I love that your staples are free. I don’t have a stapler, so this really helps.”

3/15 “That’s very efficient. I love this library.” (Was pleased with how easy it was to get the Mystery Book Club title as an audiobook when she came in to get it).

3/13 Beautiful library, I like LP area carpet but not the rest.

3/13 “Wow! Gorgeous. I want to be here all the time!  I see you have little conference rooms here.”

3/11 Patron thinks we should invite author Jeanne Mackin to do a program. She lives in New York.

3/11: Four patrons waiting to get in before ten. A couple kept trying to open the doors, but were told they were on an automatic timer.

3/10: A parent of an elementary age child asked if she could use one of the teen/tween study rooms since the children’s not available. I told her it probably wasn’t going to be quiet in here even with the door closed this time of day. Suggested she try the historic reading room if the other tables and rooms upstairs were occupied. She thanked me for my help.

3/10 “I have books coming from other libraries. I ordered them on Tuesday. I need them on Monday. They’re “in transit”. How will I know if they will be here on time? Shouldn’t they be here by now? If I call those libraries, can I pick them up there?” (They didn’t come in delivery today, so the first they could show up would be Monday, which is too late for him. He was going to order them from Amazon. He had hoped he could just get them from another library, but only one was available and he didn’t want to go to Sturbridge.

3/10 A patron from another library called to ask to renew something with no more renewals. “This is the most wonderful book we have ever gotten from a library. It is fantastic!” He was appreciative that they could keep it and continue reading and listening to it each evening. (A Child’s Intro to the Orchestra with music you can listen to for each instrument)

3/10  “The look on my daughter’s face when she learned that we could request a book to be sent here just for her—and no one will get to take it before we get there to pick it up?–it was priceless.”

3/10 Patron complained- when is front door going to be fixed, it’s too heavy

3/9 Two patrons complained about a teen patron wearing just a sports bra. We listened to the complaints but told her we really can’t enforce a dress code unless it’s overly indecent. (Should we discuss this as a staff?)

3/8 I am sorry you have to deal with these teenagers every day.  I have noticed that they are loud, rude and don’t follow the rules – Patron who was here for the Farmers Market

3/8 Tutor wanted to know when the children’s tutoring space would be available again. It is filled with heavy shelving/furniture currently. I helped her book an upstairs room for next week.

3/8 “You are amazing. I had just mentioned Bill Bryson books in passing and when I got home there the information was in my email.” HF (couldn’t tell her all the Bill Bryson books because I didn’t remember them all and Evergreen was down).

3/7 Patron was unhappy that she couldn’t check out her son’s hold using her husband’s library card. The son had a lost book/super late book fines and couldn’t check out his hold.-(he has since returned the super late book and was able to pick up his own hold)

3/7 Patron asked when we were bringing back children’s programming.

3/4 Patron who has attended most of the adult programming was disappointed that the Yarn Art was canceled

3/4 A  Patron commented that they couldn’t get their kids to leave the library, even though their son got a brand new XBox with a flight simulator.

3/3 [Do you want your change?] “No. Just the fact that you are here is amazing.”

3/3 We really enjoyed astronaut storytime last weekend.

3/2  “I really miss Hoopla! It was so helpful to me for school and homeschooling.”  3/2 A volunteer of ours asked about us being short staffed and if she can volunteer to fill in those positions.  I did direct her to the town website to take a look at the job posting and asked her to fill out the application if she is interested in those positions.

3/1 Patron called to tell us that her daughters, who had been in the library earlier in the day, just got diagnosed with a contagious form of strep. Kids were in the children’s room before their doctor’s appointment and touched EVERYTHING. (staff wiped down all toys and manipulatives)


Respectfully submitted,

Beth Schreiber


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